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EURO FILM FEST

Elisabetta Ferrando • Responsabile attività educative e culturali, Mostra di Venezia, Giffoni Film Festival

"In un festival vivi il cinema"

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- Elisabetta Ferrando lavora come responsabile di progetti educativi e culturali per la Mostra del cinema di Venezia e il Giffoni Film Festival (Arca CinemaGiovani), ed è consulente di educazione cinematografica per il Biografilm Festival (Biografilm School)

Elisabetta Ferrando  • Responsabile attività educative e culturali, Mostra di Venezia, Giffoni Film Festival

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Elisabetta Ferrando works as a manager for educational and cultural projects for the Venice Film Festival and the Giffoni Film Festival (Arca CinemaGiovani) as well as a consultant of Cinematographic Education for the Biografilm Festival (Biografilm School). She discussed her work with us.

Cineuropa: Could you talk about your role on the festivals that you’ve worked for?
Elisabetta Ferrando: I’m taking care of educational and cultural aspects. I always propose projects and follow their development in different realities. For example, at the Venice Film Festival, the Giffoni Film Festival and the Fiuggi Film Festival I have collaborated with a cultural association called “Arca Enel” (connected with Enel’s employees) with whom I was able to realize the project “Arca CinemaGiovani”. This project deals with different realities. While I get to work with people under the age of eighteen at the Fiuggi and the Giffoni Film Festival, I only work with adults in Venice. However, there’s no cooperation with another association while I’m working at the Biografilm Festival just because the project is part of the festival.

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From a practical point of view: how do you organize your projects?
I’m not responsible for the practical aspects. In Venice and in Giffoni I need support with the logistics such as finding a place where we can gather and develop our activities. Additionally, the help of somebody who collects the equipment to make videos. My focus is on the content of the projects and the activities which I follow hour after hour, day after day. On every festival I like to work day by day.

Which are the activities that you consider the most important ones?
Essentially there are two activities that I consider very important: take the kids to watch films in the theatre (and consequentially bring them to a discussion) and do some practical work. As mentioned before, after the film we have open discussions. This aspect is very important, especially, with the youngest ones. They got used to see films individually (at home with their pajamas or on Netflix), so they don’t perceive cinema as a shared experience. They have lost this collective aspect and it’s important that they acquire it again.

The other activity consists of giving them a practical task: how can we talk about the film in an alternative way? On every festival, I make them watch short videos: either advertisements, TV news or simply video-comments where they must explain their experience by making interviews, film meetings or just talk about the film. The goal is to find a way to tell what they’re living.

In which way are Masterclasses important in your projects?
The concept of a Masterclass is very interesting, and quite useful for the young audience. Meeting directors or people of the cinema field means hearing a direct testimony, and this sometimes could be more useful than reading books or manuals. Some guests are keen on the dialogue with the audience, therefore they succeed in transmitting their knowledge, others instead have more difficulties, but in any case, a Masterclass stays a very important experience in my projects. In the Biografilm Festival, we’re bound to the guests and to their schedule in order to organize masterclasses.

Concerning the daily schedule, how do you proceed?
Before the festival, I create a rough program of the meetings and the activities. Afterwards, we’re re-invent the daily schedule day by day (Venice is a vortex).

Concerning the short videos (that are posted on Youtube), I agree on a plan with the students. For meetings and interviews, I get in touch with the press offices beforehand or sometimes just contact them directly when we’re there. Obviously, we’re bound to the program of the festival, but quite often unplanned events take place. For instance, it could happen that my students can’t get into the theatre because the queue is very long, and if I previewed a meeting for that film, I must cancel it.

You need to find a way to organize your agenda at best, try to predict if any unexpected event could happen, try to set up a timetable and adapt to what will come. Anyway, I always know the festival’s program before it begins.

In your opinion, what is important to transmit to the students with this experience?
Above all, cinema is an art. Be passionate about cinema, be interested in it, be part of a festival that enriches people humanly and intellectually. The students that participate in a festival feel like they’re part of a system, they live inside this fantastic world for a while and they learn to properly watch a film and to talk about it.

It’s a way to tangibly feel this world and to do an experience that universities and schools (even if they’re very important) cannot offer. A festival reminds us that cinema exists as collective social ritual, something that you share with others, and it cannot be separated from this aspect. In a festival you live the cinema.

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